More then a million homophobes marched through the streets of Paris, France last Sunday 26th May in a specially organised demonstration against the recently passed French law that legalised same-sex marriage and adoption.
At least that’s the number the organisers, Manif Pour Tous, would have you believe that attended their march and demonstration of intolerance. The authorities paint a slightly different picture of the event that rapidly turned to violence at the end, with nearly 300 people being arrested, for they announced the estimated number of attendees amassed a little over 150,000.
Regardless of the actual number of people present, there is little doubt that not everyone in France is happy about the same-sex marriage and adoption bill that was signed into law earlier this month by President François Hollande.
Manif Pour Tous, have organised several demonstrations against the bill over the recent months, that have seen hundreds of thousands of people marching on the streets of the capital. However, much like many of the previous demonstrations, tensions rose until violent clashes erupted between the police and demonstrators during the evening. According to official reports, b by the end of the night the police had arrested 293 people had been arrested and thousands of dollars worth of damaged caused.
The demonstrators hurled glass bottles, smoke bombs and even sound grenades at police whilst chanting various things including “Hollande resign!” Some protesters carried signs that read “Made in Mama + Papa,” while others waved pink and blue flags.
Manif Pour Tous are already planning other events, regardless of the fact that there is little chance of the new legislation being repealed “[The] message is that we’re not letting go of anything, that we’re going to continue to resist. The idea is to show that although the law has been passed, we are still mobilised,” Marie-Camille Richard, deputy communications director of Manif Pour Tous said. “We are a movement that must now be considered a part of the French political landscape. Not political in the sense that we will engage in politics, but political in the sense that politicians today must recognise our presence.”
Whilst many of the anti-gay marriage campaigners and commentators have blamed the violent behaviour of some of the demonstrators on ultra far right groups, they have done little to distance themselves or their campaign against equality from such groups, even utilising their social network pages and profiles to help organise events and mobilise supporters.
While the same-sex marriage and adoption bill may already have been passed, there are still many questions yet to be addressed of assisted reproduction and surrogacy for gay and lesbian couples which will come up for debate shortly. Both issues are vigorously opposed by France’s social conservative and religious groups and Manif Pour Tous have promised they‘ll be there every step of the way.